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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification

Meet the Team

Vara Prasad

Program Director

Dr. Vara PrasadVara Prasad, University Distinguished Professor of Crop Ecophysiology, serves as the Program Director of SIIL. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in agronomy from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in India, and his Ph.D. in crop physiology from The University of Reading in England. He has extensive international experience in both Africa and Asia, and has had significant involvement with several USAID projects in these regions. His research focuses on understanding the response of food-grain crops to changing environments and management practices; developing strategies for management of crops, soil, water and nutrients for the efficient use of resources; and using farming-system approaches to provide food and nutritional security to smallholder farmers. Prasad provides leadership to SIIL and oversees all of the research, capacity building, knowledge sharing and communication activities of the program. He administers technical and financial aspects of SIIL and serves as the primary contact for donors, advisory groups and partner organizations.

Phone: 785.532.3746
Curriculum Vitae (5-page) 
Curriculum Vitae (full) 

B. Jan Middendorf

Associate Director 

Dr. MiddendorfB. Jan Middendorf serves as the Associate Director for Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) at Kansas State University (KSU). As Associate Director, Dr. Middendorf conducts research and leads SIIL’s impact assessment and monitoring and evaluation efforts. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining effective partnerships with other U.S. and international institutions, industry, USAID Missions and developmental partners. As part of these efforts, she develops and implements strategic planning and capacity building initiatives to enhance collaborative research and support organizational change. This experience includes working with various stakeholders at the community, regional, national and international levels. Prior to this role, Dr. Middendorf managed a $15.5M diverse portfolio as Program Director of Project and Program Evaluation in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) for the National Science Foundation (NSF).  She also served for ten years as director of an evaluation center at KSU. Dr. Middendorf has over 25 years of experience in project development, management, implementation and evaluation of multi-institutional, interdisciplinary programs and projects in national and international settings. Dr. Middendorf earned her Ph.D. from KSU after completing her Master’s and Bachelor’s from Ohio University and University of Rhode Island, respectively. 

Email: jmiddend@ksu.edu
Phone: 785.532.3480
Curriculum Vitae
LinkedIn Profile

Manny Reyes

Research Professor

Dr. Manny ReyesManuel Reyes, research professor, has more than 30 years of experience working with water quality modeling, natural resources management and conservation agriculture. He is an agroecological engineer, designing food production systems that mimic nature. Reyes has extensive expertise across the globe in research, extension, teaching and project implementation. Reyes will focus his efforts in Cambodia working with the Royal University of Agriculture and University of Battambang to enhance human and institutional capacity to conduct research and training of scholars and youth. He will facilitate partnerships with other Feed the Future Innovation Labs, international organizations and private industry in Cambodia.

Email: mannyreyes@ksu.edu
Phone: 919.475.7763 

Jessie Vipham

Assistant Professor

jJessie Vipham is a Food Microbiologist by training, and serves as the SIIL faculty hire in Global Food Systems and Nutrition.  She holds a B.S. in Agriculture Business from Kansas State University, as well as an M.S. and PhD in Animal Science from Texas Tech University.  While at Texas Tech, Jessie was involved with faculty members of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE).  She is experienced in international food security research, and has spent a significant amount of time strengthening food systems in Latin America.

Email: jessiev@ksu.edu
Phone: 785.532.3486
Animal Sciences faculty profile
Curriculum Vitae 
LinkedIn profile

Zach Stewart 

Research Assistant Professor & Program Manager 

Dr. Zach StewartZach Stewart serves as the SIIL Research Assistant Professor and Program Manager. He leads SIIL's research activities in international soil and cropping systems with a particular focus on linking agricultural production to improved human nutrition and livelihoods. He earned his M.S. in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his Ph.D. in Soil Science and Crop Physiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has conducted extensive research across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia on agronomic and human health topics. The 2008 recipient of the John Chrystal Award from the World Food Prize Foundation, Zach has been able to use his multidisciplinary background to advance agricultural production while keeping in mind the well-being of those impacted. As part of the SIIL management entity, Zach leads knowledge management and sharing efforts and conducts research related to global food and nutrition security for smallholder farmers.

Email: zachstewart@ksu.edu
Phone: 712.579.5419
Department of Agronomy Faculty Profile
Curriculum Vitae
LinkedIn Profile 

Jessica Burden

Business Manager         

Jessica Burden serves as the Business Manager for the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab. She is responsible for the financial management of all grants, including post-award accounting, travel planning, distribution of funding for sub-awards, and working with pre- and post-award services. Jessica holds a B.S. in Business Administration – Accounting with a minor in Leadership Studies, as well as a Masters in Accountancy, both from Kansas State University. Additionally, she has previous experience as an auditor, providing her with much grant compliance and financial experience and prior university experience at Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and University of North Texas.

Public Information Officer Position Open

The Public Information Officer (PIO) position is essential to SIIL’s continued success, especially as our coordination and communication needs have become more sophisticated.  This position plays a major role in implementing SIIL’s knowledge management and communication strategies, including developing success stories and social media content from project activities, utilizing social media platforms for effective outreach, and possessing exceptional scientific writing and video design skills. To apply click here

Andra Williams 

Program Administrator 

andraAndra Williams serves as the Program Administrator for the SIIL. She collaborates with the Lab’s domestic and international partners to help manage the program’s monitoring and evaluation, communication, reporting, and knowledge management needs. Andra received a B.A. in French, with a minor in Community Nutrition, from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s in International Development and Sustainability from the Université Grenoble-Alpes in France.  She served as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Senegal from 2013-2014 and has worked in both Senegal and Guinea as a part of USAID projects. Andra was most recently employed with the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis prior to coming to the SIIL. She speaks fluent French and passable Seereer.

Email: ajolenew@ksu.edu
Phone: 785.532.3586

Jovin Lwehabura

Regional Coordinator - East Africa

joMr. Jovin Lwehabura has more than 10 years of experience working on applications of geospatial science & technology in sustainable management of natural resources. He holds an M.S. degree in Geographic Information Systems (MS GIS) from the University of Redlands, California as well as a B.S. in Geomatics from the University of Dar es Salaam. Mr. Lwehabura is a member of Global society for Conservation Geographic Information Systems (SCGIS). He has developed several GIS Databases, guide mapping and support implementations of land use planning for more than 50 local communities in Tanzania. Mr. Lwehabura currently works for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab. He is the SIIL's Coordinator in East Africa and lives in Arusha, Tanzania.

 Email: j.lwehabura@cgiar.org

Aliou Faye

Country Coordinator - Senegal


Aliou Faye has two decades of research experience with the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA), the French Institute of Research for Development and the International Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Development (CIRAD). Faye worked also for 5 years as Chief of Agency of a Saudi group dealing with non-timber forest products in the Tambacounda and Louga regions of Senegal. Faye holds a B.S. in Tropical Forestry, a M.S. in Agronomy, and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar with field experience at the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility (CIAT) in Nairobi Kenya. Faye has published at least 20 research articles in different scientific journals. Faye is currently the head of the Soil-Water and Plant Laboratory of the Centre National de la Recherche Agronomique (CNRA) of ISRA in Bambey, Senegal and serves as the Country Coordinator of the SIIL in Senegal.

Email:aliouselbe11@yahoo.fr or aliou.faye@isra.sn
Phone: +221 77 568 13 42

Hamidou Traore 

Director of Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherche Agricoles (INERA)- Burkina Faso

Dr. Traore

Dr. Hamidou Traore has over 25 years of research experience in the field of agronomy. Dr. Traore holds a PhD in Weed Science from the University of Montpellier II, Sciences and Techniques of Languedoc, France, and a Diploma of Rural Development Engineering in Agronomy from University of Ouagadougou. Dr. Traore currently serves as Director of Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherche Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso. He previously held the position of Regional Director of the Eastern and Sahelian Environmental and Agricultural Research Regional Centers. Dr. Traore was also a Fulbright Scholar at the Agronomy Department of Purdue University, Indiana, USA.